August 2008

I Love This Tree

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I Love This Tree

Breaking News!

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Bomb Threat.jpg

There's currently a bomb scare in Sherman Oaks. It's hard to see in this picture (sorry, if my camera phone has a zoom feature, I haven't figured out how to use it), but there's an unattended bag just outside Sisley Restaurant (it's on the ground - just to the right of the foremost column and left of the middle palm tree). The sidewalk has been closed, and a portion of Sepulveda Blvd. was attemped to be closed, but after a while, folks just ignored those orange cones.


If it really is a bomb...well, you'll probably know before I will!

Update: At 6:30p, one brave cop opened the bag and bomb, just a dirty gym bag.

The Harbortown Saints

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The Harbortown Saints

Wed Aug 27, 2008 - Photo taken by Ms. Jen at Alex's Bar with her Nokia N95.

Mad Juana Tonight at Alex's Bar!

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Mad Juana tonight at Alex's Bar

Tonight, Wed. Aug. 27, 2008, Mad Juana is playing at Alex's Bar with the Harbortown Saints and it is a show not to be missed.

Mad Juana is a fabulous new band out of New York City fronted by Sam Yaffia (Hanoi Rocks & New York Dolls) and his wife Carmen Guy. Musically think Squirrel Nut Zippers on a mad gypsy tear through New Orleans on speed. Excellent, I tell you, excellent.

This is a show not to be missed.

Mad Juana, Harbortown Saints, and the Lost Captains at
Alex's Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804

Sandi at the Subway

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Subway Sandi.jpg

Yesterday afternoon we took the Metro to the Sunset Junction Street Fair. Also riding the subway was a group of people from England taking pictures of themselves on the subway. Not wanting to miss out on anything, I snapped this pic of Trucker Up's Southbound Sandi, proudly displaying evidence of her paid fare.


What a deal! Along with my free admission ticket (thank you DJ Wanda), there was a coupon for a free barbecued pork rib sandwich. I was pleasantly surprised - it was a very good sandwich.

There were two stages of Elvis going on. On the main "Tribute Artist" stage were the "professional Elvis's" and on the second "Karaoke" stage were the amateur contestants for the "Crème de la King" competition.


Kirk Wall was obviously the star attraction on the Tribute Artist Stage. He worked the whole crowd from the stage to the snack bar and added his own unique stage patter and audience interaction. On one of his frequent jaunts into the audience, he closed in on a woman eating an ice cream cone. When she held it up to offer him some, he said something like, " I don't want your ice cream, baby, I just wanna lick your forehead."
That's a good line, I may steal it. In the future, I foresee Kirk Wall impersonators.

The Lords of Altamont

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The Lords of Altamont

Sat 08.23.08 - Photo taken at Alex's Bar by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95.

$14 Shirley Temple

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Shirley Temple.jpg

The first of three Shirley Temples consumed last night at the Juke Joint (they didn't really cost $14).

Mon 08.18.08 - Photo taken by Ms. Jen on her morning walk with her Nokia N95.

Jack Ingram (He Plays Country Music)

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Jack Ingram at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine Saturday night. We got to hang with him on his bus after the show, and he played five songs he's recorded for his next album, one of which is written by the fabulous Radney Foster. Nice to know there is more good music to look forward to from Jack Ingram!

Romance on the Bus Gone Sour

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Part of the appeal of taking the bus to and from work each day, besides the obvious benefits of conserving gas and minimizing one's impact on the environment, is the wide array of personalities and intellects one comes across while riding the bus. On Thursday night, I got to witness the unfolding - and then demise - of a romantic relationship while going home.

Shortly after I boarded the bus in Sherman Oaks, a blonde in her late 30's boarded, and asked the bus driver if he was going to Burbank. "I have to go to Pass!" she told him, referring to Pass Avenue. The driver assured her that that was one of his stops, and she took a seat in the back of the bus.

The bus proceeded down its route - North on Sepulveda, then East on Magnolia. After we turned on Magnolia, the blonde came running up to the front of the bus, furious. "You said we were going to Burbank! This isn't the way to Burbank!" Um, actually, it is. Burbank is West of Sherman Oaks. I took this as a sign that she was perhaps not all there. The bus driver - again - told her he'd be stopping in Burbank. Skeptically, she took a seat toward the front of the bus, still looking doubtfully at the driver.

At this point, a scruffy-looking fellow who was clearly carrying everything he owned with him on the bus, struck up a rather loud conversation with her. Although I was busy texting my sister about the kitten I'm about to adopt, I couldn't help overhear him tell her that he was partially American-Indian, and people didn't appreciate this country, and that he was 34 years old, single, and disease-free. With this much information divulged in 30 seconds, I began to assume that he, also, was perhaps not all there. "You're really good looking for your age," the blonde told him, and that marked the beginning of their flirtation.

After more conversation, in which the entire bus learned that he was also divorced, that the ex had taken everything, and he was on his way to live with a friend, he suggested that she give him her phone number. "Right away?" she asked. Suddenly, the man became hard of hearing, and after asking, "What?" several times, he moved across the aisle to sit directly next to her (to hear her better, of course). Apparently, she expressed her concern over giving her phone number to someone she had just met, and the man became irate. He moved back over to his seat on the other side of the bus, with a string of four-letter words, "F--- you! I don't have time for this s--- from c---s like you who lead a guy on!"

Considering this, I think she made a wise decision.

The explitives continued the duration of the bus ride, increasing when the blonde asked him he wanted to take it off the bus, indicating she'd like to fight him. He responded with, "Go ahead, and I'll have you arrested for assault!" Happily, peace reigned again when we reached his stop and he exited the bus.

Now, I ask you, where else can you witness an entire romance - the meeting, the courtship, and the breakup - in a ten-minute period? Only on the bus!

Miracle Tomatoes

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At a time when tomatoes can kill you, I have a small miracle to report.

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Mystery Tomato Plant.JPG

Ready to Eat 2.JPG

A few weeks ago, I spotted a plant growing in the corner of my yard. I thought it was a weed and started to pull it up. Then I realized it was some kind of vegetable plant that had mysteriously sprouted in the corner of my yard. I had no clue how it had gotten there: the wind, birds, an animal?

I decided to do nothing, because I have a black thumb and kill everything I try to grow. But this week the mystery plant produced tomatoes!

No idea how it is getting water or sun as it is in a corner of the front yard under the eaves and almost hidden by other plants. Most mysterious. But at a time when tomatoes from the store can kill you, this mysterious bounty is most welcome!

Gorgeous Sky This Evening

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Greyhound Bus Murder Hits Home

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Warning: This story is disturbing. I work in the transportation industry, and I can tell you that public transportation is really much safer than taking a car to work every day, but stories like this are chilling.

What makes it even more distressing is that a friend of mine just traveled via Greyhound across America, in search of a "great adventure." Well, Tim McLean got more than that. McLean was stabbed to death and decapitated in front of an entire bus load of passengers while traveling across Canada. Read an eyewitness account from Orato here.

Wow! Just Wow! or Iowa is Awesome!

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Internet surfing late this evening led me to Lesile Hall's Gemstone Sweater site, which led me to the bank of videos for her music/performaniceart/parody. Wow!

Manic Hispanic

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Beer Truck

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Sat 08.09.08 - At Alex's for Punk Rock Social Club with CH3.

The Ashanti Solution

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You know how sometimes you feel kind of, oh, I don't know, out-of-sorts? Like when you feel old, tired, fat ,cranky, depressed, bloated, icky, poorly dressed, out of shape, frustrated, listless, apathetic or sad and then you go get a bag of chips or a carton of ice cream or both and then you feel WORSE?

Maybe it's just me, but when I feel like that, I look at this picture and say, "Self, it is OKAY. You are FINE. No matter what is going on in your life, you did not leave the house dressed as ASHANTI today."


And then I feel better.

Lepore Launches MakeUp Line

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You know how I get Amanda Lepore mixed up with Nanette Lepore, right? Which is ridiculous because one is a fashion designer from the Midwest who designs delightfully feminine clothes that I can't afford, and the other is a tranny from New York who looks more fierce than feminine. Well, one of them is coming out with a make up line for CAMP Cosmetics, and even though I say I won't, I bet I'll buy some.

Alexander McQueen fall '08. Drool, why don't you.

You know I love Target. And you know I love fashion. And you know I love the Target Designer GO line. So when I saw this article in New York Magazine's The Cut I just about lost it.

Can I get that dress pictured? The one made of a table cloth? Please???

"Rumor has it Alexander McQueen is on tap to do a Target Go International collection. So jump up and down and scream HOLY JESUS YES! Now calm down a bit as you allow the thought of McQueen clothes so affordable you can have multiple pieces hanging in your closet to sink in. We're still having trouble adjusting to the idea, but we're jumping up and down. Even McQueen's McQ diffusion line can easily run you upwards of $400 for a dress and $200 for a top. And yes, he already does collaborations with Puma and Samsonite, but let's be real here -- if we're going to own McQueen, we want to see it, as mentioned above, hanging in our closet. We don't need McQueen sneakers (any ol' Pumas are just fine for that) or luggage that costs $800 and is just going to get dinged up anyway. No, no, we need McQueen on our person and we need it now. And we need it to not fall to pieces, like some of the other recent Target lines have done. So let's hope that the retailer, in keeping with a designer of such caliber, gets materials worthy of his work. In the meantime, keep everything you can cross crossed to make this rumor come true."

Street Art, San Diego

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On the bus today, I sat behind a mother, her two month old baby, and the mother's twenty-something-year-old daughter and her daughter's husband. Another woman on the bus struck up a conversation with Mom, who loudly proclaimed that she did not believe in Day Care, and the only people who ever watched her baby were she, her daughter, and her son-in law. However, this mother-of-the-year also reeked of cigarette smoke, and had her next cigarette ready to go before she even exited the bus.

Does anyone else see a problem here?

Hot : Cactus Blooms

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East Coast Heads West

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It's Monday, August 4th, and I have just returned home after a fine evening at the Hotel Cafe, a CD-release show of sorts for Miss Carrie Rodriguez, the fiddle virtuoso/protegee of Chip Taylor who will release her second solo album, She Ain't Me tomorrow. My favorite thing to do these days, when attending shows at the Hotel Cafe, is to take the train to Hollywood and Vine, then walk the three blocks west on Hollywood, then block and a half south on Cahuenga to the Hotel Cafe. No driving through Hollywood, no paying for parking, and only a $2.50 round trip for the train. A bargain. A steal, even. Plus, the Hotel Cafe is only a few blocks away from Amoeba Music, too.

But I digress. A promising young duo named KaiserCartel from Brooklyn, New York, opened this early show at 7p - nay, 7:15p. They are musicians, after all. And kudos for them for having the balls to perform a Lucinda Williams song with Lucinda Williams in the audience.

Miss Rodriguez went on shortly after 8p, and delivered a solid performance, backed by a group of solid musicians (almost all of whom currently reside in Brooklyn). Carrie's astonishing fiddle playing seemed to take a backseat (especially because this was such a short show) as she has become a more well-rounded musician since stepping out on her own, but even during the few songs that Carrie did break out her fiddle for, it was obvious she's a genius. Carrie was accompanied by Lucinda for one song, "Mask of Moses," which Lucinda also contributes backing vocals to on Carrie's new record. Lucinda looked awful (especially compared to the "living doll" she compared Carrie to), but sounded great - and even more notable than that, was her obvious admiration for Carrie - and Carrie for her. Lucinda praised Carrie's talent on-stage, was the first to start clapping along during Carrie's final song - the fun, uptempo, "Never Gonna Be Your Bride," and was first to jump up and hug Carrie after the show. (Lucinda fans will be happy to know that she'll release a new album in October, and Carrie will return Lucinda's favor and perform on one of the songs on Lucinda's new record.)

It's too late to go to the show (ha!), but not too late to get Carrie's record (by the time you read this, it will probably be out!). With songs co-written with Gary Louris, Dan Wilson, and Mary Gauthier, plus vocals by Lucinda Williams, how can you go wrong?

Sunday Afternoon BBQ

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Record Weirdo - Tower of Terror

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The garage sale was not my destination. I was out doing chores and it was on the way. I can even explain why I went twice. One of the chores was to get my glasses fixed. On my first visit, I saw a five-foot tower loaded with CD's but, without my specs, I couldn't really see what they were.
Why be in denial about something when it's easier to be in denial about several things concurrently?
When I came back wearing my third and fourth eyes, I saw the worst bunch of CD's I've seen in dog years. They had been in the garage for a long time and were covered with enough dust to choke a pack mule. On closer inspection, I noticed that most of the cases were empty and those that did contain discs had the wrong disc - for example a Jane's Addiction CD case with a Doors booklet and an unlabeled blank CD-R inside. It was such a train-wreck that I had to ask about the price.
They wanted fifty cents each or five bucks for the whole shebang, including the tower shelf thing. Sold.
I did spot a couple discs that looked salvageable but the selling point was a Phil Shane CD. I'd pay five bucks for the Elvis of OC.

Back at home, armed with an old t-shirt and a spray bottle of Windex, I took inventory of my haul. Here's what I got in no particular order:

Playable CD's with cases:

John Cougar Mellencamp - Uh Huh. Little Johnny Cougar's finest hour. "Pink Houses", "Authority Song", and others make it a fun listen. I could unload this for a buck if I wanted to.

Suicidal Tendencies - s/t. I think this album not only killed punk, but started speed metal. Both events were bound to happen anyway so I don't really blame them. I like "Institutionalized" but since all the other songs sound just like it, there's no point in listening to the whole thing.

U2 - Rattle and Hum. Have you ever tried to watch this movie? What a stinker! This album was a huge hit twenty years ago even though no one really liked it. Most people just bought it because they thought it was "important" and didn't want to be considered unhip. It was such an overwrought, pretentious turd that U2 has now disowned the whole thing and wants the world to forget it ever happened.
In my mind, that deems it worthy of another listen. It's pretty dull, but not horrible.

Phil Shane - A Fling Thing. What can I say about the Elvis of Orange County? How about that he's also the Neil Diamond of Orange County? This is a keeper.

The Doors s/t. A guilty pleasure. I know that the Doors are over-rated, over-hyped, and over-exposed but I like this album. I like the "lounge singer from Hell" concept combined with the cheesy organ. If you look past all the gothy and gloomy froth on the surface, this stuff is pretty funny.

Enigma+ - MCMXC a.D. I don't get it.

The Beatles - Past Masters Vol II. A great compilation of singles, b-sides, and oddball stuff. My favorite is "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)." I know you don't care, but I told you anyway.

Incomplete Multiple CD sets:

Bob Dylan - Biograph. Here's disc one of a three-disc box set. The first disc of any box set is always the best anyway, so I'm happy.

The Doors - In Concert. Disc one of a two-disc set. It might be fun to have the second disc of this but I think disc two has an hour-long version of "Light My Fire," so I'm probably better off without it. Fortunately, this is also missing the booklet that probably contains those horrible Danny Sugarman liner notes that plague every Doors re-issue CD.

Billy Joel - Greatest Hits. Disc two of a two-disc set. Judging by the songs listed on the cover, I'd much rather listen to disc two than disc one.
This is comparable to saying that I'd rather have my left arm broken than my right arm.

CD's without cases or covers

Various Artists - Modern Rock 1980-81. A very good Time-Life compilation with "Cars" by Gary Numan, "Rock Lobster" by the B-52's, and other snappy new wave hits. It's a virtual Flock of Googoo set list. It also contains non-hit favorites by The Ramones, Elvis Costello and Dave Edmunds. Printed on the label of the disc is the image of a Mohawk-coifed punker, which is exactly what comes to mind while listening to songs like "Tempted" by Squeeze.

Various Artists - Modern Rock 1985-86. These years were not as interesting as 1980-81. That Morrissey, what a jokester.

Harry Connick Jr. - When Harry Met Sally. Whatever happened to this guy? I'm afraid to listen to this because I might like it.

The Indigents - untitled. This seems to be demo burned on home-made CD-R. It is competently played and recorded, formulaic, by-the-numbers, snotty, teenage punk rock right down to the fake English accents. As far as I can tell, the first two songs are titled "Fuck You" and "So What." A promising start, but it's too easy to predict exactly where the songs are going to go next. Don't pick this one, it's not ripe yet.

The Eagles - Greatest Hits Volume Two. See "Billy Joel's Greatest Hits".

Moby - Play. I don't get it. I just don't get it.

Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream. My CD player couldn't read this disc. I just got an error message that said "suck."

Portishead - s/t. I tried to play this one but I couldn't tell if the CD player was skipping or not.

Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill. No. Not a chance. Absolutely not.

I'll stop here. There were a few more but they just get worse.
There were also about 10-12 empty cases that just went straight into the trash. Among them were Dave Matthews, Ice Cube, and Janet Jackson but I would have nothing nice to say about them.

How to Save on High Gas Prices!

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At Alex's Bar: Ride your Bike!
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95 camera phone.

Sat 08.02.08 - Last night I went over to Alex's Bar to help Alex with migrating data to his new MacBook and to check out the Secret Affair DJs. Computer data migrated. Secret Affair DJs = GREAT! I really had fun.

The best part of the evening was seeing all the bicycles, at least 50, locked up on the back parking lot railing, with even more folks showing up as I was departing on their bikes. Long Beach music lovers know how to save on gas and have fun. Good on them!

Rabbit, Rabbit!

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Happy First of August to you. Or rabbit rabbit. Or Happy Lughnasadh. Whichever you prefer, just remember to have a good bonfire and some 'smores.

To re-launch the after our 4 month hiatus, I will be blogging here at the and at Alex's Bar daily as a part of the NaBloPoMo August Hot challenge.

So, what is hot for today, August 1st? A good bonfire. In lieu (or Lugh) of a good bonfire, then a nice, hot, sweaty nightclub...